How to never check luggage

Being an independent traveler, I am a light packer and never check luggage on an airplane, even for a two-week trip.  Many times people have asked me, “How did you fit everything in that tiny bag?”  I’ve learned through years of travel that many packed items were never used and therefore a waste of space.  I’d rather save a few inches in my suitcase before the trip and fill it with souvenirs to bring home.  Plus, if I’m the one carrying it, I want it light.










This is my big suitcase.  It is made by Atlantic, has wheels, stands 22″ high, and fits in the overhead compartment.  There are two outside front pockets, one large and one small in back, and mesh areas inside for shoes.  I’ve had it for several years and bought it in Macy’s on sale.  There are many similar suitcases available that will do the same job.

 My Packing Tips:

  1. Roll your clothes instead of folding them.
  2. People disagree with me on this one:  Pack something you are not in love with and then toss it after it’s worn.  I am asked, “Don’t you want to wear your best clothes when you travel?”   Sometimes I have a shirt, pants or skirt I own but feel ehhh about.  I’ll bring it, wear it once, and then toss it.
  3. Really think about how many pairs of shoes you need.  They take up a lot of room!  Wear sneakers on the plane because they take up the most space.  If traveling in summer, bring flat sandals for walking and pool/beach, plus a fancier pair for dinner and that’s it.
  4. To prevent wrinkles, roll clothes in dry cleaning bags, or cut the bags apart and roll clothing.
  5. Make use of wasted space, such as corners.  Stuff them with undies and small soft items.  Also roll socks and place them inside shoes.
  6. On every trip I pack one nice dinner outfit, including bag and shoes.  While away, I never use this outfit.  Inevitably I don’t want to get dressed up after sightseeing all day and most restaurants allow casual clothing.  More space saved.
  7. If you are not sure all of your souvenirs will fit in your luggage, have bulkier items shipped home.  I have done this and it worked out great.
  8. Don’t take lots of extra clothes ‘just in case.’  Take only the basics that you need for every day.  If necessary, many hotels/motels have washing machines or laundry service.  You’ll most likely find that you never use those extra items and they are just weighing you down.  You can also buy a souvenir t-shirt or other outfit to remember your trip.
  9. Spacebags!
  10. Watch this video from

Are you also a light packer or do you brings items for every possible scenario?  If the latter, who carries your bag?

August 13, 2011

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